"Tomorrow is not promised to any of us." A dear friend used to remind me of this when she'd hear of an untimely death. Recently, we've witnessed many well-known people leave us unexpectedly and some of us have had personal losses, too. These losses have caused me to pay closer attention to the life that I have right now. I’ve begun to identify some of the incomplete plans that I have not followed through on and started creating an agenda to get those things done – a life benefit from paying attention to death.
I started by making a list of goals that I have already accomplished. I recognized that I tend to discount the significance of things that I've done in the past as if there is no bridge from them to the future. However, I now view these past successes as templates for future efforts. I’ve discovered that there may be some similar steps to take, and that the learning curve will not be as steep for things I plan to repeat. I can build upon an established foundation instead of starting from scratch. Experience tells me that we are more likely to remember our failures than our successes. Listing our successes is a powerful tool to launch us onto a path that draws upon our strengths instead of creating reminders of our weaknesses.
Consider making a list of your successes and where you’ve put your energy. Did you invest in being a good student? Your successes may be academic achievements. You may have been rewarded with grades, certificates, and opportunities for learning new things. Were you an outstanding athlete? Your successes may involve trophies, records, letters for a sweater or jacket, etc. Have you been recognized for outstanding accomplishments at work? Did you get certifications, raises, new titles, or more responsibility? Let these memories give you encouragement to get started on a new project. Be willing to give new projects as much thought, energy, and enthusiasm as you did those earlier successes.
I decided to pick just one thing that I would get to work on within the coming week that I said I would accomplish in my lifetime. I authored a handbook on visualization more than ten years ago and had plans to update it for current publication. I stopped working on it a few months ago and regret not having completed it. Now, I have resumed my editing and have set a deadline to complete it.
For you, it could be something that you had started before and did not complete or something new that you have been thinking about but have not channeled your energy into action. In order to predict success and see the fulfillment of your commitment, ask yourself the following questions:
1. Am I thinking in a focused manner about this project or activity?
2. Do my plans and dreams include this project or activity?
3. Do I enjoy myself when I am engaged in this project or activity?
4. Do my actions support advancement of my goal?
5. How will I and others benefit when I complete this project or perform this activity?
Reminding myself that I can start now on at least one thing that I want to accomplish helps me to feel that the promise of tomorrow is not necessary. I can get things done today.
What can you accomplish today that you’ve been putting off? Will you consider starting one new thing now that you have wanted to do and have not put into action? Create benefits of living today! The end for some can be a beginning for you by allowing you to focus on your special and unique commitments. Share the one thing you’ll commit to today by posting a comment to this blog and inspire others to do so, too!